The Environmental Protection Agency today designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site.
Swiss commodities firm Glencore announced the former smelter would be permanently shuttered back in the spring of 2015.
Senator Jon Tester today applauded the EPA’s decision.
"It’s going to free up additional resources to clean up the contamination. It’s going to reduce the exposure of costs to the community. It’s going to ensure that there will be public involvement, in that Columbia Falls will be part of the solution and it will hold Glencore accountable. That’s a beautiful chunk of land that is ripe for development if it’s cleaned up – and I think it can be cleaned up."
An initial EPA study found cyanide, arsenic, lead and fluoride in groundwater on the site.
The CFAC plant has an 800-acre footprint on Glencore's roughly 2,500-acre property.
Company officials argued against a Superfund listing, saying in part that it would stigmatize neighboring properties, as well as on-site redevelopment opportunities.